Real Madrid: Three foundational players to build around

Real Madrid, Fede Valverde (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Fede Valverde (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /
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Real Madrid, Rodrygo Goes (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Rodrygo Goes (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /

Rodrygo Goes

In 2019, Rodrygo Goes came to Real Madrid at the age of 18, for a fee of 45 million. Despite his young age and inexperience, the club had invested 45 million in him because they trusted him. And he proved himself in the first chance he got in the pre-season, where he scored a brilliant freekick against Bayern Munich in the International Champions Cup. He scored on his LaLiga debut as well, and he scored a hat-trick against Galatasaray, in just his second start of UEFA Champions League. He had some start to his Real Madrid career.

Though he faded away in some parts of the 2019/20 season, he had a great start to the 2020/21 season and had 1 goal and 4 assists to his name. He finally got some starts on his favourite left-wing position after Hazard’s regular injuries and Vinicius’ disappointing performances in some games. He looked good but then had a Grade 3 tear in his hamstring due to which he was out of action since December 24th, 2020.

Rodrygo has shown a lot of maturity for his age and he looks like a polished product with great decision-making skills. And above all, he’s a great finisher. But there’s something that is still holding him back. He has looked to play it safe while he’s playing, and looks like he fears failure. He had done very well at Santos and looked like a complete player, but at Real Madrid, he just hasn’t exploded yet and shies away from taking risks, which is visible in his dribbling and shooting. If he is freed from the shackles, there’s no stopping him, and he is someone around whom we can build the forward line.

He can play on either of the wings and play as a second striker as well. Zidane has regularly used him as a right-winger, but he has been pretty unidimensional from the right at times. He looks like a crossing machine on the right, and the difference is pretty clear when he’s used on the left-wing. But on the left, he has to face competition from Eden Hazard and his Brazilian compatriot Vinicius Jr, who was brought in for 45 million as well.

I personally believe a lot more in Vinicius when compared to Rodrygo and I love his ability to act as a leader, take risks, be fearless and step up in big games. I could’ve included him in this list. But I excluded him because of his weaknesses, which overshadow the value he brings to the team. He still looks very raw and needs to work on areas like shooting and decision-making.

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That’s why I feel he needs a loan move to a club where he will get regular minutes and can work to improve himself. Because the Real Madrid pressure isn’t good for a player who is regularly criticised for a particular weakness and he needs to go somewhere else where there isn’t much pressure so that he can become better and return stronger.